What are your thoughts on medically assisted death?
By - Random2328
My grandma was 89 and wasn’t dying of anything in particular—she didn’t have cancer or dementia or anything—but her memory was slowly failing and her body was generally falling apart from old age and a leg injury from fifty years prior. She had been a widow for fourteen years. She was lonely and in pain all the time, and her family lived across the ocean so we couldn’t see her as much as we’d want to.
There was nothing actively killing her, but she did NOT want to be alive anymore. She wasn’t depressed, just old and in pain and ready to be done.
She was able to go to a place in Switzerland, with all four of her children, and take a pill to end her life while her children sang to her and she looked out at the mountains.
We all got to say goodbye to her and she got to be completely in control of the end of her life. I can only hope that if I am ever in that situation, then world will be kind enough to let me close my own exit as beautifully and peacefully as my grandma did.
As sad as losing a loved one may be, this is beautiful. I can't see how coming to peace with the world, being with family and witnessing a gorgeous last bit of scenery could be argued. Thanks for sharing.
I wish my grandma could have had the same. Instead, we could only give her water by sponges and watched her in fear in a dimly lit hospice room. Who knows how many more poor souls were forced to meet the same fate, just in that room alone.
Edit: yall are making my legitimately cry right now. I've been on reddit for about 8 years now (remade a while ago) and I've truly never felt this kind of empathy from internet strangers. In 2014, I wrote a paper on PAS for my final exam for Eng102 even before my grandmother passed. I have always felt strongly about this topic, and I makes me sad as a human to hear about the suffering of other families. I genuinely appreciate all of the responses.
Honestly, these experiences need to be shared. It is downright inhumane to experience what your families has gone through, and I resonate with all of you. A little extra backstop some of you will relate to:
My parents were divorced when I was 8, and from there on my (great) grandma legitimately became the mother for my brother (3yo at the time) and I while my mother was out getting high. She was just like some of the mothers others have mentioned; leeching off of other men to get by and get high, never paying child support. Meanwhile my grandma was using her fucking social security check to make us corned beef and cabbage for our birthdays. She absolutely deserved to go with dignity, and so did your parents/grandparents, and quite honestly, yourselves. Thank you all for sharing.
>Instead, we only gave her water by sponges and watched her in fear in a dimly lit hospice room. Who knows how many more poor souls were force to meet the same fate.
Genuinely sounds like some prose from a horror novel.
Death with dignity, especially for the elderly, should be extended and offered. Not a lot scares me, but after working as a medication technician in dementia wards for years, getting old fucking terrifies me. I don’t want to put that burden on my children. I don’t want to slowly lose myself, even if like your grandmother, it’s not to anything specific. I don’t want to be a financial or emotional burden to my children at any point in my life.
Dementia is a whole different beast I’d like to avoid entirely, and I wholeheartedly support being able to sign a death with dignity clause, much like a DNR, where if at any point I can’t safely live on my own or recognize my own children, give me a shot and let me go.
I just went through this with a good friend in Canada. He had a glioblastoma, and was given 3-6 months to live. Ultimately he lived for 15 months, but he wanted to be sure he could end his life when things got bad for him, so he made the necessary preparations. I'd long known he'd made these plans. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But as I was caring for him for the last six weeks of his life I got to witness the process firsthand.
Long story a bit shorter: Towards the end my friend could no longer walk or speak. He could understand everything you said to him, but he couldn't find the words to reply intelligently. In his frustration he made it clear that he was ready. So we explicitly asked him if he was ready to die. He said yes.
The next day two nurses came to his home. They talked to him and confirmed that he wanted to end his life. So, while sitting in his favorite recliner, they put in an IV. His immediate family and I sat with him. The nurses administered medication that made him fall asleep. Then they administered a second medication that stopped his breathing. In less than 5 minutes he was gone.
I don't know if I'd have the courage to make the decision my friend did, but I didn't experience his suffering. Being present for him as he ended his life has convinced me that having the option to end your life on your own terms is the absolute right thing to do. There's no reason someone should have to continue to suffer when they know all they have to look forward to is more suffering. I'm very grateful that my friend had the option available to him. Had he been in my state in the U.S. that wouldn't have been possible. But it should be.
I’ve posted a few comments elsewhere in this sub, but I wanted you to know that your story about your friend’s journey was meaningful, and described the process sensitively. Some people commenting here really have no concept of the magnitude of this issue. Thank you.
You are a good friend. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Wow, so it’s actually done *for* them? In the US, the patient has to be able to do it themself..,
Anyway, sorry for your loss. I recently lost a close friend to GBM. It’s a bitch.
My friend lived in Saskatchewan. There's a program there called Medical Assistance in Dying, or MAID. You can request the service if you have a terminal diagnosis. When approved it will work as I described earlier. Even with that you can change your mind at any time before they administer the injections.
I can't begin to tell you how amazing the nurses are who take on this role. Their sensitivity and kindness is off the scale. They describe exactly what to expect throughout the process. It's never rushed. They make the preparations, and the timing is entirely up to the patient and family.
It's both a wonderful and a terrible job, and I'm in awe of them.
Mercy to those in pain.
This was a while back in Western Europe, my friend's dad had terminal cancer and was in severe pain but the doctors would not give him increased morphine because that could trigger an addiction. In a terminal patient. He suffered needlessly until the very end.
[that's apparently depressingly common.](https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/09/16/against-against-pseudoaddiction/)
>Case 1: Mary is an elderly woman who undergoes a surgery known to have a painful recovery process. The surgeon prescribes a dose of painkillers once every six hours. The painkillers last four hours. From hours 4-6, Mary is in terrible pain. During one of these periods, she says that she wishes she was dead. The surgeon leaps into action by…calling the on-call psychiatrist and saying “Hey, there’s a suicidal person on my ward, you should do psychiatry to her or something.” I am the on call psychiatrist. After a brief evaluation, I tell the surgeon that Mary has no psychiatric illness but needs painkillers every four hours. The surgeon lectures me on how There Is An Opioid Crisis, Y’Know, and we can’t negotiate with addicts and drug-seekers. I am a consultant on the case and can’t overule the surgeon on his own ward, so I just hang out with Mary for a while and talk about things and distract her and listen to her scream during the worst part of the six-hour cycle. After a few days the surgery has healed to the point where Mary is only in excruciating pain rather than actively suicidal, and so we send her home.
One of those cases in there is about someone with fucking *diabetes* being treated like they're an addict when their need for drugs is something that can be objectively verified. That hit close to home, because when you remove the connotation that addiction is always unhealthy, I'm addicted to my meds. I'm physically addicted to them, as many of them I'll go through withdrawal without. And psychologically addicted to having my mental/nuerological illnesses treated. I have a stable and uncontraversal regime with sufficient dosage. But I would absolutely demonstrate "drug seeking behavior" if I somehow lost access to my meds. And given that my Ritalin is a controlled substance, I would absolutely be under additional scrutiny.
I feel this with my vyvanse- don't have it, feel like a crazy person andy arms are itchy. Have it, totally normal human who can get our of bed and do dishes.
I (too?) am severely ADD. And I have a negative psychiatric response to Ritalin, and a poor ratio of physical to neurological reaction to amphetamine. Fortunately, dextroamphetamine works for me, with zero side effects (unfortunately, including appetite). Unless an effective alternative is developed, I'm basically going to be on stimulants for the rest of my working life - and the way things are in the US, that's probably just the rest of my life. I hate taking them. I catch myself making excuses to skip my medication all the time, and force myself to take it. I'm also basically the extreme tail of the not-addiction-prone curve. I can (and frequently do) go from >1000mg/day of caffeine for weeks to forgetting and not consuming any for weeks, with no transitional craving or withdrawal symptoms. The one time I was on morphine, I demanded the nurse stop it as soon as I was fully conscious, and the nurse called the doctor, because "your pain level may be harmful". I convinced him, and dealt with the pain. I've applied stitches to myself, and do not require anesthetic - fortunately, because I have a severe adverse reaction to lidocaine. But I'm still *dependent* on stimulants. Because without them, I cannot hold down a job, but with them, I have a very successful career. But every month, I have to go through a level of scrutiny bordering on interrogation. Regular drug testing. Not an issue, I'm not using any illegal drugs, but still.
I hate the way addiction is addressed. I am firmly convinced that the problem itself has roots in (though not entirely caused by) Reagan's War on Drugs. Opioids, methamphetamine... yeah, they're very harmful. I've witnessed the meth thing firsthand. But the drugs are not the cause of the problem, they're a symptom. Broken social contracts are the cause. And the addiction is not treatable by restricting the availability of the drugs without increasing the availability of help for the root problem. Sure, maybe for some cases, here and there, but not as an epidemic.
Well, that's bad. Mine grandpa got a terminal cancer starting in somewhere in his bones. At the end the pain was so mental, he could not even finish his good bye letter and shot himself.
WHAT? This is one of the most awful things that I've heard...
WHO cares about addiction if some1 is terminally ill and in pain. They would be on those meds till their death?? What type of fucking logic is that?? Denying relief from a terminally ill person in pain is pretty much torture tbh.
Hell, I would give a terminal patient heroin or LSD if they asked for it- what’s the harm?
But I guess that’s why I’m not a doctor anymore
I live in fear that my doctors will refuse stronger painkillers once my pain progresses past what it is now. Its been getting worse for years and living life has been getting steadily more difficult. I'm only 23, I don't want to spend the next 60-odd years in agony. I'd take the addiction over the pain any day.
Edit: stop suggesting fucking EDS this is not an opening for yall to give your opinion on my health based on two comments
Edit 2: I didn't ask for advice. I don't want advice. Stop suggesting basic, commonly known solutions to other people's health issues and stop getting offended when I tell you it's not helpful or wanted. You will be blocked instantly.
What do you have if you don't mind my asking?
A bunch of shit they sort of hand-waved away as fibromyalgia. Definitely hypermobility, but I'm not even on the high end of hypermobile so it doesn't make sense my joints ache, my bones ache, my knees swell up, a weird stabbing/threading pain etc even with strong painkillers other people use to get high. I don't even notice a difference mentally between taking or not taking them. All of that causes chronic insomnia which in turn causes chronic fatigue, plus a bunch of mental health problems caused by or comorbid with childhood emotional abuse and neglect.
Edit: stop suggesting fucking EDS this is not an opening for yall to give your opinion on my health based on two comments
Edit 2: I didn't ask for advice. I don't want advice. Stop suggesting basic, commonly known solutions to other people's health issues and stop getting offended when I tell you it's not helpful or wanted. You will be blocked instantly.
Utterly disgusting and completely inhumane.
Why in the fuck would addiction be an issue for a terminally ill patient... This makes no fucking sense to me whatsoever.
Too many rules and not enough human interaction and common sense.
That’s insane. In NA they give terminal patients very strong painkillers that might shorten the life expectancy. It’s the closest option to assisted killing they’ll allow
They do now, but when I first graduated I cared for a man who died of bone cancer on nothing more than plain Tylenol. Same bullshit reason. I wanted to strangle that doctor.
This is my grandpa right now, first he had colon cancer and prostate cancer, then it spread to his lungs and various other organs, he’s now got huge tumors poking out of his back and pressing on his intestines so he throws up more than he consumes a day, only takes Tylenol for pain. He’s preparing and I know it, sends me pictures of my grandmas grave.
We show dogs and cats more mercy when they are in pain and dying.
"I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their own life, and those that help them should be free from prosecution." - Stephen Hawking
My grandmother passed away last week with a medically assisted death.
She had cancer that had spread to her brain, and was given a few weeks to a few months to live. From what family members said, she was deteriorating fast.
She made the decision to have the procedure done as she wanted to end her time here with dignity. The appointment was made, doctirs consulted, and paperwork drawn up. 10 days later two medical professionals came by her house where she was spending time with her children. It was done quickly and comfortably.
Nana left peacefully on her own accord, in the comfort of her own home, and while she was still more or less herself. It was very strange to have a time and a date looming, but it also allowed me to set aside that time to be alone and hold a small vigil of my own (I'm currently in another country, and couldn't get back)
She lived in Canada, where this service has recently been made more accessible, and I'm all for it. If it helped my Nana, it could help so many others.
So it's ok to do it in Canada? my uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson's and he was about to do it too, I think in that time it was only done in Sweden or something like that, but the doctors wouldn't let him. Now he cannot go to the toilet by himself, he cannot take his own medication, he needs special care nearly 24/7. I think he would be better off with medically assisted death :/
EDIT: made a mistake, it's Switzerland, not Sweden. sorry
Medical assistance in death (MAiD) has been legal in Canada for 5 years.
(Albeit with restrictions.)
True, and some of those restrictions are arguably too limiting. But if they had gone all in and said 'at any time for any reason' right away, the law would not have passed.
Hopefully we continue to move to a place where people are able to make decisions for themselves. I also understand need to balance the these rights with the responsibility of medical practitioners to ensure people are aware of the decisions they are making (ie tests to ensure that you are sound of mind when applying for access and that no coercion is involved).
They are. The courts thought so as well because the law did not conform to what they ruled in Carter (the case that legalized medically assisted death in the first place) and they have ruled that it's still not constitutional. There should be a new, less restrictive law in about two years, I think. The government is putting a time delay on it for some reason.
Delays like this are usually to allow a review before a more final decision is made. I reckon they'll get some helpful data: how many people took advantage of the option, which demographics chose it, mental health impacts and so on. As much as it sucks that there wasn't an immediate full legalization, I think a mandatory pilot period was wise in this case.
This is what I feel makes this procedure something that should be fully available everywhere; knowing when it will happen. I feel that the knowledge that it absolutely *is* going to happen at *this* specific time on *this* specific day would help so many people process it better.
My grandad has brain cancer and has been given 3 - 6 months, but it could be longer, it could be tomorrow; we don’t know for sure, and it’s horrible. It would definitely help me process the whole ordeal if he would take this option, if he wanted to of course, and I would have time to come to terms with it, and overall I think I would be in a healthier place mentally myself.
Wait what’s a medically assisted death? And what did they do?
Basically it's medically assisted suicide which allows people that have degenerative diseases to die in a peaceful and painless way without having to suffer until they die of the natural cause of the disease.
I don't know exactly how they do it but i'm assuming it's a painless medication that puts you to sleep.
It is typically a sedative strong enough to put you unconscious and then stop your heart. No pain just sleep.
Usually strong sedatives + some other meds to guarantee death. There have been studies before where people actually woke up after using assisted dying... so just need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In Switzerland, you’re given an anti-vomiting drug and then half an hour or so later, you’re given a drink containing an overdose of barbiturates. You have to administer them yourself without assistance but given there’s only the dying, their loved ones and the doctor in the room, who’s going to tell if someone was helped?
In Switzerland all medically assisted deaths are actually filmed for this reason. At least in the cantons (like states) near me.
It sounded a bit strange to me at first but it does seem to make sense from a liability standpoint.
Enough sedatives just cause you to relax so much your heart stops.
Edit: not sure what other drugs are in there, just saying
True. But you want to make sure the person dies. So, some of the compounds used, have other heart meds or a combination of a few sedatives for this.
I’m not sure if it’s the same in humans but for animals we use Pentobarbital, it’s an anaesthetic. We just give an overdose IV (intraperitoneal if venous access is not viable) . They fall asleep fast peacefully.
On a similar topic, does anyone know why this isn't the way death row inmates are killed? Because from what I've heard of lethal injection, it's miles more horrific than this. I know the ones performing lethal injections aren't qualified doctors, but still.
Apparently there are two needles, one to put you in a very heavy coma which already sometimes painlessly kills the patient. And then once in the coma (whether the patient has passed by that point or not) they inject the needle that stops the heart, wait a minute, and then it's done.
I think that'd be euthanasia. The difference with medically assisted suicide might seem minor, but it's very important. Suicide implies the patient doing the action, most often it's by drinking something. Euthanasia implies someone else doing the action (a doctor). For example: in my country, euthanasia is legal but assisted suicide isn't.
That's a fascinating distinction and place to draw the line.
Was that an intentional legal delineation that your country made when they set that up, or is it more an organic outcome of uncoordinated law passage?
I love hearing all the angles on this topic; I fully support it myself, but I think it's hugely valuable to understand how other people process the idea.
I can only speak for Belgium. I don't know exactly why or how it grew this way. It has to do with the way euthanasia is defined legally here. It's an exception on the laws against murder, which means that a doctor who doesn't follow all precautions might get on trial for murder.
Only recently there was a huge trial with 3 doctors after the family of the patient sued them. The patient got euthanasia for unbearable mental suffering, which is legal here since a couple of years, but the family argued that not all criteria had been fulfilled or something (don't remember the exact details).
Anyway, personally I'd like to see assisted suicide and euthanasia both legal, but I realize we're already very progressive in this regard and that in most countries this topic is still taboo.
Belgium is certainly ahead of everyone in this topic, even allowing it for children under 18, if I’m not mistaken.
Correct! Minors can request euthanasia for physical ilnesses, not (yet) mental ilnesses.
Imagine when you go to the vets because your pet is in pain and you get the offer to put it down to spare it from suffering, it is basically that for humans
It's exactly what I say to people reluctant about assisted suicide: "you wouldn't even wish it to your dog, why inflicting it upon people".
I think a lot of people consider it to be like playing god (I’m not one of them, I’m all for it)
Dying a painless death doesn’t sound too bad
There's some videos on youtube following different patients. The one I saw let patients drink a mixture to make them fall asleep and die without pain in their sleep.
It should be a right for every human to choose when terminal. We euthanize our pets but not our loved ones. We allow our loved ones to suffer miserably at the end of life. I was a hospice nurse and saw the suffering first hand. It is inhumane to allow that.
My cousin died from a brain tumor and wanted to be at home, with her family, when she died. Her last 3 days, she lay begging someone to kill her because of the excruciating pain she was in. It was sheer torture for her, her family and her hospice nurse.
Were painkillers not available?
Her doctor took away all painkillers when she lost the ability to swallow....poor hospice nurse was devastated because she couldn't help ease her pain.
What???? I'm a hospice nurse. Typically we give morphine and ativan under the tongue (which absorbs through the mucosa) regardless of a patient's ability to swallow. If I were her hospice nurse I would have had one of our doctors prescribe comfort meds if her doctor wouldn't have. I'm so sorry!
Yeah, I remember the morphine. The nurses werent allowed to administer it, but family could. I had set up to sleep over and wake up a few times in the night to administer every 90 minutes but she passed before I even went to sleep. Mom and I were with her, but we didnt noticed when she passed
Wait hospice nurses aren't allowed to administer pain meds?
Isn't hospice also called "comfort care"?
That's incredibly fucked up.
Some doctors are just sick. That, in my mind, is causing direct harm and breaks their oath. There are intravenous drugs for a reason.
I’m a nurse and we had an oncologist who I swear would dig up a corpse to give it chemo. He always told families that their loved one would be able to make it, and to not make them DNR and the hospital would push for hospice way too early.
I watched one of his 90 year old patients scream nonstop for 4 days straight. She was maybe 80 lbs and had stage 4 bone cancer. We begged the family to reconsider and he would not even entertain the idea that she should be made comfort care. We called the ethics board on him and actually had his privileges taken away from the hospital. It was terrible
He always told patients “ no one ever does of cancer, they die of complications and secondary illnesses to cancer.
If I had 2 wishes in life, I’d wish for virtuoso level musical talent, and for him to have taste buds in his asshole.
The pet comparison is such an interesting perspective I hadn't considered. We are allowed to be in a position to choose for the animal yet we aren't allowed to make that same decision for ourselves?
I can understand the ethical complexity when the patient is unable to make the decision for themselves, but when they are fully cognisant, of course they should be able to choose.
Not only we're allowed to choose for the animal, it's often considered to be humane thing to do, so they don't have to suffer.
Obviously letting people decide for others is questionable, but I agree that we should be allowed to make this decision for ourselves.
There are people going to Mexico to get the drugs we use to put down animals to use on themselves because they have no other choice. The system is so messed up.
My grandfather died of cancer. It was horrific. It rotted his body. Turned him into a shell of a man.
I remember sitting with. Him one day as he lay with his faithful alsatian, he looked at her and said 'I wouldn't put her through this, why do they make me suffer?' then he kinda just went silent, and stayed like that for the remaining several weeks. But you could see the tears rolling down his face.
My grandmother had dementia and I think that was a saving grace. She got stuck in a sort of time loop the last few weeks of her life. She went back and relieved the day my grandfather came home from war, he took her out dancing that night. I've always looked like my great aunt Rita (grandfathers sister) and she addressed me as Rita for months. It was like she forgot she was an 85 yo lady, she was a young woman again. I honestly think that was the only decent thing about the dementia, sticking her in a time loop she was unaware of.
Several years ago I had an accident and broke, among other things, my back and neck. I had to be kept immobile for several days while the swelling went down (I unfortunately also had a severe allergic reaction) I was told to prepare for the worst. That I may be left paraplegic from the neck down.
Those frw days felt like a millennium. And I instantly knew, that if that was the outcome, then I was not going to live like it.
I was always too active to live my life looking at the ceiling or in a chair with only the use of my face.
Unfortunately that isnt an option in the UK, and it was my best friend who said don't worry, your animals will be taken care of and you will have a pain free accident within a week of being out... And although I am actually OK, still get a fuck tonne of residual pain in my neck, I made pretty much a full recovery, I'll love that woman forever for that sentiment.
I'm all for assisted death. Not just for terminal illness, but where I would be miserable and a burden. And trust me, I would make everyone around me miserable. And I would be miserable.
I was doing okay with this thread until the story about your grandmother.
I lost my mom really horrifically too. She lost her mom to Alzheimers and was very, very clear that she never wanted to go like that. God I hope her mind gave her a pleasant place to go like that.
We had to take her off the machines and off the tube feeding per her wishes and then just wait for an entire week as her body deteriorated until she passed.
And we still had four separate people accuse *us* of killing her.
Have you read the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande? I’d love to hear your perspective on it.
Second this. The book provides a fascinating view on this topic
My mum and her siblings did everything they could to keep my nana alive. By the end she was barely conscious with supports on her joints and constant illness and infection. There were no more joyful quick witted comments, no more random acts of kindness, just her in a bed with breathing so shallow you'd have to watch to be sure she hadn't just stopped. It was heartbreaking to see her in that state, and to see my mum and my aunts/uncle try and cling to the person she used to be. I miss her every day but I'm glad she's no longer in pain.
I have a degenerative brain disease and would very much like to die with some dignity left, so I'm all for it.
Terry Pratchett's "shaking hands with death" is an excellent talk on this:
Also, [Who By Very Slow Decay](https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/) by a different author.
>When you were young, you would go to institutions and gradually gather letters after your name: BA, MD, PhD. Now that you are old, you do the same thing, but they are different institutions and different letters. Your doctors will introduce you to their colleagues as “Mary Smith, COPD, PVD, ESRD, IDDM”. With each set of letters comes another decrease in quality of life.
>At first these sacrifices will be minor. The COPD means you have to breathe from an oxygen tank you carry around wherever you go. The PVD will prevent you from walking more than a few feet at a time. The ESRD will require three hours dialysis in a hospital or outpatient dialysis center three times a week. The IDDM will require insulin shots after every meal. Not fun, but hardly inconsistent with a life worth living.
>Eventually these will add up beyond your ability to manage them on your own, and you will be sent off to a nursing home. This will seem like a reasonable enough idea, and sometimes it goes well. Other times it gives you freedom to develop a completely new set of morbidities totally unconstrained by what a person in any other situation could possibly be expected to survive.
>You will become bedridden, unable to walk or even to turn yourself over. You will become completely dependent on nurse assistants to intermittently shift your position to avoid pressure ulcers. When they inevitably slip up, your skin develops huge incurable sores that can sometimes erode all the way to the bone, and which are perpetually infected with foul-smelling bacteria. Your limbs will become practically vestigial organs, like the appendix, and when your vascular disease gets too bad, one or more will be amputated, sacrifices to save the host. Urinary and fecal continence disappear somewhere in the process, so you’re either connected to catheters or else spend a while every day lying in a puddle of your own wastes until the nurses can help you out. The digestive system isn’t too happy either by this point, so you can either have a tube plugged directly into your stomach or just skip the middleman and have an IV line feeding nutrients into your bloodstream.
>Somewhere in the process your mind very quietly and without fanfare gives up the ghost. It starts with forgetting a couple of little things, and progresses until you have no idea what’s going on ever. In medical jargon, healthy people are “alert and oriented x 3”, which means oriented to person (you know your name), oriented to time (you know what day/month/year it is), and oriented to place (you know you’re in a hospital). My patients who have the sorts of issues I mentioned in the last paragraph are generally alert and oriented x0. They don’t remember their own names, they don’t know where they are or what they’re doing there, and they think it’s the 1930s or the 1950s or don’t even have a concept of years at all. When you’re alert and oriented x0, the world becomes this terrifying place where you are stuck in some kind of bed and can’t move and people are sticking you with very large needles and forcing tubes down your throat and you have no idea why or what’s going on.
>So of course you start screaming and trying to attack people and trying to pull the tubes and IV lines out. Every morning when I come in to work I have to check the nurses’ notes for what happened the previous night, and every morning a couple of my patients have tried to pull all of their tubes and lines out. If it’s especially bad they try to attack the staff, and although the extremely elderly are really bad at attacking people this is nevertheless Unacceptable Behavior and they have to be restrained ie tied down to the bed. A presumably more humane alternative sometimes used instead or in addition is to just drug you up on all of those old-timey psychiatric medications that actual psychiatrists don’t use anymore because of their bad reputation.
>After a while of this, your doctors will call a meeting with your family and very gingerly raise the possibility of going to “comfort care only”, which means they disconnect the machines and stop the treatments and put you on painkillers so that you die peacefully. Your family will start yelling at the doctors, asking how the hell these quacks were ever allowed to practice when for God’s sake they’re trying to kill off Grandma just so they can avoid doing a tiny bit of work. They will demand the doctors find some kind of complicated surgery that will fix all your problems, add on new pills to the thirteen you’re already being force-fed every day, call in the most expensive consultants from Europe, figure out some extraordinary effort that can keep you living another few days.
>Robin Hanson sometimes writes about how health care is a form of signaling, trying to spend money to show you care about someone else. I think he’s wrong in the general case – most people pay their own health insurance – but I think he’s spot on in the case of families caring for their elderly relatives. The hospital lawyer mentioned during orientation that it never fails that the family members who live in the area and have spent lots of time with their mother/father/grandparent over the past few years are willing to let them go, but someone from 2000 miles away flies in at the last second and makes ostentatious demands that EVERYTHING POSSIBLE must be done for the patient.
>Your doctors will nod their heads and tell your family they respect their wishes. It will be a lie. Oh, sure, they will carry out the family’s wishes, in terms of continuing to provide the care. But respect? In the cafeteria at lunch, they will – despite medical confidentiality laws that totally prohibit this – compare stories of the most ridiculous families. “I have a blind 90 year old patient with stage 4 lung cancer with brain mets and no kidney function, and the family is demanding I enroll her in a clinical trial from Sri Lanka.” “Oh, that’s nothing. I have a patient who can’t walk or speak who’s breathing from a ventilator and has anoxic brain injury, and the family is insisting I try to get him a liver transplant.”
>Every day, your doctors will meet with your family another time, and eventually, as your condition worsens and your family has more time to be hit on the head with a big club marked ‘REALITY’, they will start to relent. Finally, they will allow your doctors to take you off of the machines, and you will be transferred to Palliative Care, whose job I do not envy even though every single palliative care doctor I have ever met is relentlessly cheerful and upbeat and this is a total mystery to me.
>And you will die, but not quickly. It takes time for the heart to give up, for the lungs to fill with water and stop breathing, for the toxic wastes to build up. It is generally considered wise for the patient to be on epic doses of morphine throughout the process, both to spare them the inevitable pain as their disease takes their course and to spare their family from having to watch them.
>…not that they always do. It can take anywhere from a day to several weeks for someone to die. Sometimes your family wants to wait at the bedside for a week. But a lot of the time they have work and things to do. Maybe they live thousands of miles away. You haven’t recognized them in years, you haven’t spoken a coherent word in months, and even if for some reason your brain chose this moment to recover lucidity you’re on enough morphine to be well inside the borders of la-la-land. A lot of families, faced with the prospect of missing work and school to sit by what’s basically a living corpse day in and day out for weeks just to watch it turn into a non-living corpse, politely decline. I absolutely 100% cannot blame them.
>There is a national volunteer program called No One Dies Alone. Nice people from the community go into hospitals to spend time with dying people who don’t have anyone else there for them. It makes me happy that this program exists.
>Nevertheless, this is the way many of my patients die. Old, limbless, bedridden, ulcerated, in a puddle of waste, gasping for breath, loopy on morphine, hopelessly demented, in a sterile hospital room with someone from a volunteer program who just met them sitting by their bed.
Came here to say this. I’ve got a copy of Terry Pratchett’s Shaking Hands with Death on the bookshelf by my desk, can’t remember where it came from but he’s got a lot of very sensible and humane things to say about it all.
His BBC documentary "Choosing to Die" was another good look at assisted suicide and showed both views: people diagnosed with inevitable diseases who wanted to to be assisted and others who preferred care. It was heartbreaking and the scene where the man actually takes the lethal dose and slips away made me cry. But you certainly come away with a better understanding of the nuances and the morality of the arguments.
I am an RN and this is so on the point, every nurse can relate. It's rampant. For those not in the know - this is not a "Now and again" Scenario. It's constant. Sure, we have great palliative foundations but we, as a civilisation, need to get a fuckin grip. This aversion to gift dignity to those suffering comes from a place of immaturity, fear and selfishness. We need to normalise, fuck it; even celebrate death. I adore my vocation and I take great pride in protecting life, but we gotta do better. Sometimes I feel more akin to a torturer than a nurse.
Indeed. Nothing wrong with death. It's necessary and inevitable. Why prolong death as long as possible when often the death itself is the good part. Its the DYING that you don't want to drag out. That's the shit part. And once someone reaches a certain age they are dying. That's it. As a 33 year old I have a lot ahead of me. Ending my life now would be a senseless suicide.
If I make it to 83 I'm just skipping ahead a couple years and saving myself the pain of whatever cancer or disease is almost certainly going to do me.
Jesus fucking Christ
Yep. Theres a reason doctors tend to do everything they can to avoid the medical system in later life.
If there was ever a screaming indication on the need for medically assisted death it would be doctors end-of-life wishes in their medical histories.
DNR's are almost universal after a certain age. Something to keep in mind.
No doubt in my mind. Past a certain point, DNR is just a relief. There's no point in prolonging things if suffering like that is the answer.
sadly, he was not able to end it on his terms.. The dilemma is that you would have to end it yourself or at least initiate your death when you are somewhat lucid and at full mental capacity. At that point you might still enjoy life, at least a little. Once you are beyond that point you are no longer coherent enough to see that you should end your life and probably no longer can.
Thinking a lot about this and came to no good conclusion yet. How can you burden someone else with that decision?
Honestly I believe people should have the right to "power of attorney" over their future selves.
While they're in a good state of mind they should be able to record their wishes and have those apply once they're no longer mentally able to make decisions.
Absolutely, a will to myself once my brain "dies".
Pharmacist here. I see the torture people go through day in and day out. The meds. The pain. The family members that want to put patients through torture and try every insane clinical trial/surgery/med. I know someday, I'll very likely be that person dying. I pray that my family makes it a quick, smooth process and doesn't torture me with meds and life-prolonging treatment when the inevitable is bound to happen.
My hip is hollowed out from vascular necrosis, so I kind of feel your pain.
I worked with, knew and know countless veterans who suffer from painful degenerative diseases, who'd like to go gracefully on their own terms.
Dr Kevorkian was ahead of his time.
Hey buddy! Avascular necrosis in both hips myself. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Send me a PM if you ever need to talk to a fellow sufferer.
Got a 2nd set of ears that can empathize. Avascular Necrosis in both hips, total left hip replacement already and waiting for the other side to collapse before they'll do the other. Mid 30s Male also if any of that matters to you.
Wow, same exact position here. Sitting in the hospital bed after getting the right hip replaced yesterday. Next up is the left. Also a male in my early 30s. Crazy.
It gets easier. I'm 100% happy with the difference the replacement made. I couldn't lift my leg to walk up stairs prior to surgery, now it's no issue at all. Though the nerve damage is wild, I'll feel an itch somewhere and have to scratch somewhere completely different to get it to go away lol.
Wow, that's great news. I've been unable to walk stairs without pain (or put on my socks!) for almost a year. My heart goes out to those suffering longer. But your comment fuels my optimism. Thanks :)
Damn didn’t know there was this many of us! Late 20s and had both replaced already from AVS
I feel this. I watched my dad die in front of my eyes from dementia. He went from a strong, proud man to a 5st vegetable. It was incredibly traumatic to be a part of his transition. Making all of his care decisions took such a toll on me, and all the while, I was thinking of how (in his right mind) he would be mortified of what he had been reduced to. He actually died of covid, in a crappy care home, alone. If ending his life could have been on his terms I know we could have been there with him. It’s a year on and I’m still so pissed at the way we treat people with late stage dementia in the UK.
I'm really, truly sorry for your loss and I hope that you've been able to get support for yourself as well.
We lost my nan to dementia this year. She was fortunately in one of the care homes with very few COVID cases but alzheimer's and dementia ultimately only have one outcome.
It's incredibly cruel, in that it takes away your dignity and the human that you were long before you finally pass. It's disgusting to me that in a (allegedly) forward thinking country we don't seem to be mature enough to give people a compassionate ending to their time with us.
"I will kill you, when the time comes. If you want me to."
Yep, talking to Thirteen
"I'll do it now if you like. I think I've got a baseball bat in the back."
Name checks out
So you should. Dignity is a right.
We let people die in fear and pain, but not animals. The last 6 months of my mum's life were exactly how she didn't want to live - confused, incontinent,immobile. I longed for there to be a legal way to end her suffering. She made it very clear to me during her life that this was not the way she wanted to go.
I'm an RN, and should make it clear I've never assisted ending anyone's life, but I've wanted to. Medically assisted death doesn't mean more death, just less suffering.
I've worked in nursing homes, there's things worse than death and there's a lot of money in it.
THIS. Spent 8 years working in a nursing home and I watched SO many patients truly suffer through their deaths. Not because the nurses weren’t trying to control the pain and keep them comfortable but because sometimes death is a long, long process. I wish assisted death was allowed because it’s so rare that nursing home residents just go to bed and pass away in their sleep.
Nursing homes, rehabs, and assisted living facilities may have great caring and loving staff but the bottom line is that it’s all about money. The longer they stay, the more they get paid. Sickening.
When the hospice nurse came for my grandmother, she made it VERY clear that these "meds right here" should NEVER be given at the same time or too many or whatever she said, or my grandmother might fall asleep and never wake up.
My grandmother was able to see us all, and suddenly that night she passed away quietly in her sleep.
Bless that nurse who warned us, because my grandmother was in intense pain, couldn't breathe or walk, her lungs were basically gone, she had to wear diapers, couldn't even lift a hand...but her mind was still tack sharp and I am 100% certain that my aunt gave her the meds to help ease her passing after everyone visited her.
Oof. I never thought of it this way. End of life care is incredibly expensive. Some people want to prolong death because it’s a profitable.
Yeah, same here. Mom had stage 4 cervical cancer and ended up with a large brain tumor as well, within the last 2 weeks of her life. She went out how nobody should have, in constant pain, immobile, incontinent, and just completely brain dead you could see the glaze over her eyes. The last 2 days if her life was her being completely despondent outside of her having whole body shakes due to pain.
It was fucking heartbreaking to watch her go out like that. I desperately wish that medically assisted death was a thing in that moment. I still do. No one should go through that.
My grandfather had a massive heart attack followed by a stroke and then a coma some years ago. He was very verbal that he did not want to live past his usefulness (ie do not keep him alive if he can’t function on his own). His mother and sister were not willing to let him go, so he was kept alive on fluids and ventilators and tubes for months. He had to have said fluids pumped out periodically bc his kidneys had shut down and he couldn’t eliminate them from his body. His skin turned yellow, and was so full of fluids that if you pressed on his arm, it sunk in and didn’t re-inflate itself for several minutes. It was horrible. Even when the doctors said “look, he’s never going to wake up” they refused to let him go or sign a DNR (do not resuscitate). So the doctors actually brought him back from death 3 times. I hate that my last memories of him are his bloated yellowing body in a hospital bed, blood mixed in with his urine in a bag to the side of the bed, and not even being able to touch him or talk to him. That was absolutely not what he wanted at all and not what he deserved. He knew his body was shutting down before the heart attack and he knew he was sick. If it had been legal he could have passed quietly at home with dignity like he wanted
That why when I’m older I’m only giving medical power of attorney to people who I know would have strength to follow my wishes. Not just someone who loves me. Like, I know my mom would cave and never pull the plug. My dad might, but it would devastate him and it’d just fuck him up forever. His grief might also convince him that Jesus will swoop in and save me though, which would make me nervous giving him the job. My brother or wife though? Yeah. They could do it. And feel in the depths of their soul they did the right thing and wouldn’t torture themselves about it later in life or have problems getting the job done.
My parents were so pissed that I gave my medical power of attorney to my aunt. I gave it to her because I know she'd respect my wishes and my parents wouldn't.
Also important for everyone to remember. If things go as planned you should outlive your parents. It sucks to think about but no parent should have to bury their kid. Parents definitely shouldn’t be responsible for making those decisions for adults, have someone else. Most cases the parents will be long gone sadly anyway.
Definitely. I reserve the right for a person of my choosing to decide for them to unplug me if need be. Should that situation arise.
It's not something a lot of of us like to think about. But it's something to think about. Our health isn't always guaranteed. So it's a good call to have things in order.
This is why I have (and EVERYONE should have) a living will. They are stupidly simple to set up. You are never too young to make your wishes known, clearly and in legally binding form.
EDIT:[This site](https://www.caringinfo.org/planning/advance-directives/by-state/) has a free form for creating your own living will (advanced care directive) for all states in the US.
Have a living will, and have all your paperwork lined up, bank accounts, and make sure someone knows about it! Absolutely. Currently dealing with this with my 75 year old father who is in a nursing home(brain tumor, found him collapsed in his home, he lives alone, and it's just me, an only child who has a family of my own to care for) who is unable to articulate if he has any other assets other than his checking account. He is the type of person who would but I can't find anything. I haven't been able to find ANY of his paperwork, not even his wallet, so no id, nothing. It's hard not to be mad at him right now for not having his shit together, but this has been his personality all my life.
I really want to emphasize the Medical Power of Attorney comment above.
Most people don’t really think about their Last Will and Living Testament until they are older, but you should get some bare minimum documents set up once you are “settled” as an adult (IE, you have *some* valuable assets or are married/have kids).
Simple stuff about where your assets go when you pass or your wishes if you go in a vegetable state give direction for your loved ones.
Also, buy life insurance while you are young. Again, just in case something ever happens.
Not only medical but also check with your HR to make sure all benefits are going to current partner or family. Knew a lady,who was an ex for many years. The hubby passed suddenly, and the ex kicked out his current wife and kids out of their home with nothing. She also got all of his retirement benefits and all his properties since the ex was on all the forms. He had been remarried for over 15 years.
Good advice and happy cake day!
Yeah, that feeling of what if is hard to overcome. My mother has been sick her whole life (but still walking and functioning for the most part, she usually has fun), and when she told me she had a DNR was pretty shocking and heartbreaking. Like, whyyy? Don't leave me :(
But then I thought about it for a minute beyond the first emotional shock, and yeah, a DNR is the right call in her case. I'm still young, but at some point I would likely have a DNR in place as well, because the end results are not pretty.
Yeah same. The problem was even though his kids (my mom and her siblings) knew what he wanted, it would have devastated his mother (who had dementia and heart problems). none of them wanted to step up and be the one to say “this is what we are going to do” even though by law they had the right to put an end to it.
This is exactly what it was like watching my grandma pass away a month ago. She just suddenly started losing all motor and cognitive functions. To see her become a shell of herself and just not there anymore is so sad and heartbreaking. She couldn’t open her eyes or her mouth and we were just watching helplessly and changing diapers when need be and listening to her in pain. No person or family should have to go through that.
Pretty much the exact same with my grandma when she had pancreatic cancer.
It IS a thing. Just not a legal thing (in the US, almost all states except for progressive compassionate states like Oregon and Vermont). Don’t tell anyone. My friends mom has ALS and she did it in a state where it’s not legal. It’s just a personal choice to take an extra large dose of pain killers mixed with other barbiturates. Hell, that used to be the med cocktail for putting people to sleep for crimes (death penalty).
My father had ALS and thankfully we live in Canada where MAID is legal. He chose where, when, and how to go before his body deteriorated further and/or he had a major accident that would have put him in the hospital forever. Reading some of these other stories makes me feel even better about his choice.
My dad had MDS and by the time he was getting weekly transfusions he was exploring options, but his condition progressed too quickly and he wasn’t able to make the decision before he couldn’t.
I’m glad he was able to discuss it with me and my sibling but I wish he’d been able to go the way he wanted. (he did stick around long enough for the soccer championship though ❤️)
Thank god Canada has a functioning head on its shoulders that can be compassionate to its suffering citizens.
As a veterinary professional, I totally agree with you. Yesterday we euthanized a cat with excruciating hip pain (looked like there was bone cancer in there or extreme osteoarthritis, the radiographs scared all of us). The owner elected for that because there was no way we could control this level of pain without hospitalization longterm and she wanted to spare her cat as much suffering as possible and let her go with dignity. But then we leave humans to suffer and die without any dignity at all. I watched a documentary on netflix about childhood cancer and the last moments of some of them was heart wrenching… just let them go before they suffer to the extreme!!
As someone who has had to say goodbye to multiple pets this way...thank you for what you do. I'll never forget my first. She had been known by our vets as 'Rosie the Wonder Dog' because she survived so many crazy surgeries and cancers that tried to take her life, but ultimately it came to a moment just like you describe; there was too much pain and suffering, and she was too old to handle what it would take to help at that point.
I was 19, she fell asleep in my arms, and of course it was heart-wrenching. One of two times I'd seen my dad cry up to that point. But on the way home, the sun was setting in glorious gold like her fur, and I just had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude and relief wash over me, and felt certain in that moment it was her saying thank-you.
I regret never writing to my vets office to tell them that after, they probably only ever saw and knew the heartbreak. I was buried in a rough semester of college at the time, and this is now many years ago. So, random stranger, I thank you today for all you do for others like me and those we love.
I'm not crying, we're all crying.
I am also an RN. My mother lives with me the last 2 years. She is not the person I grew up with. She is now like a toddler, needs someone with her all the time. If left to her own devices she would be dead. She never wanted this life. I put my cat down last week because it could barely walk, wasn’t eating but my mother must suffer the same indignities with no hope of relief. Even states that have “right to die” laws exclude people with dementia or Alzheimer’s because they are not “capable” of making the decision. I can only hope that one day before I am like this that laws are passed that allow someone to designate another to make that decision for them.
My wife and I are both young, nowhere near the age when we will both start falling apart. But Alzheimer’s runs in her family, and I am terrified of the day it starts to take her. My darling wife, slowly forgetting everything, and becoming old and senile. I’m literally crying while I type this.
> Medically assisted death doesn't mean more death, just less suffering.
When you listed off those three symptoms, I knew what was going on. Alzheimer's is fucking terrifying. Living with Stage 7 Alzheimer's is something nobody deserves, let alone Alzheimer's as a whole.
As someone who has stage 4 cancer I am in favor of having the right to die gracefully
As someone else with stage 4 cancer, when the time comes I hope to get to make that decision as well. Hope you’re doing okay!
As someone currently watching a friend slowly die from cancer I too am in favor. I hope you both are surrounded by love, peace and comfort from pain.
Edit wayward words.
To anyone reading I highly highly recommend Andrew Denton’s podcast [Better off Dead ](https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/better-off-dead/id1056470744?i=1000356825308) about this. It is brilliant and sobering. Prompted by him watching his father die due to terminal illness.
I wish there was an award with a value worthy of this. Thank you
I know nobody with terminal illness but still was really fascinated by that podcast. Really worth a listen.
As someone who lost his mom to cancer, she suffered the whole time. Couldn't do anything by herself, eat, shower you name it. She suffered horribly.
Same here. When they put her on hospice it was like we all just watched her slowly wither away. If there's no chance of survival or chances are that low assisted death should be allowed. No one should have to watch that. I'm sorry you had to experience that.
As someone who doesn't suffer from cancer, I support your right to have that option.
As a member of Humanists UK this is one of the things we are actively campaigning for, animals are afforded a more humane death than many people who suffer needlessly while we prolong their lives against their wishes
I know, it has always bothered me how it seems that a lot of people seem to think both that:
* A: putting a suffering animal "out of its misery" is the humane thing
* B: letting a terminally ill suffering human suffer till they die "naturally", against their wishes, is the humane thing
I hope this changes.
This is so true.
In 2019 I lost my 12y old cat and my grandma, both from sarcoma. And the dualism in medical approaches bothered me so much.
For my cat, as hard as it was to make the decision, looking back it was the right call because she was in so much pain and there was no getting better.
But my grandma had to slowly wither away in a hospital in a state than can hardly be called living, she was just surviving connected to machines.
And we are capable of making decisions, so each of us should be able to choose if we want to hold on or let go.
If I ever get terminal cancer. Ill live as long as I can. But once I start melting away Im going kill myself. I've seen people wither away and die. Im not doing that.
I second this
As far as I'm concerned you should have the right. Especially for those who try and botch it then end up with terrible repricussions. As one of my mates did.
Untill the day he did pass I fought mentally about if he had asked if I would have helped him. And if it was legal I would have but being illegal I would not have risked my family. It sounds stupid in comparison but it tore my heart and put me through hell
If it's good enough for my dog then it's good enough for me
Seriously, and unironically this. I won't even allow my dog to suffer at the end of my life. Why can't I make sure I don't suffer, either?
*time to pull this out of context*
What's this about peanut butter?
My grandpa had a medically assisted death in 2019. It was such a blessing to my family as we were able to say goodbye, and knew how much time we had left.
Also it was relief from great pain for him, and I’m so glad he was able to make that choice peacefully.
Will forever advocate for it.
If you're not allowed to legally arrange the end of your own life, is it actually your own life?
I once read about a man, healthy, but he carried a cyanide pill with him wherever he went. When asked about it, he would say " A prison becomes a hotel when you have the key."
Did he just cheat-code *Hotel California*?
You can check out any time you like and once you do you can never come back again doesnt have quite the same ring to it.
My history professor who grew up during the 40s and 50s said his grandmother carried arsenic and strychnine with her and had some in every room of her house for a similar reason. If I remember correctly she ended up dying naturally in her sleep, but she wanted to make it clear that when she was ready to die she would do it on her own.
IIRC Hunter S. Thompson said something similar about only feeling in control if he knew he could take his own life at any time.
No one can choose if or how they enter the world, the least we should be able to choose is when and how to leave it.
Full support. People should have a choice to die with dignity and on their terms.
Doctor here, i agree
Nurse here, i agree too.
but isn’t there some risk that if you can choose to end your life in a dignified fashion, you’ll have wealth to leave to your family instead of giving it all to insurance companies?
My granny had issues because she was in her 80's and had lived an amazing life but hated being immobile and unproductive. In order to die with dignity she would have had to spend 6 months away from her family to ensure they weren't persuading her for financial gain, the family who looked after her. She ended up living until 95, her brain went long before her body.
I've worked with hundreds of dying patients at this point. I've seen suffering that is incomprehensible. There is literally no bottom to what a human can go through. It is endless and all consuming. What's worse is in the hospital we have become quite proficient at prolonging suffering.
If family members want their loved ones to keep going because they cannot accept their impending death our hands are almost always tied. Do everything. So we do. We shove tubes and drains in every hole. You lie in agony for days, weeks, months, years. Your body can be kept alive long past its expiration date. It will literally start to rot but you can prolong the function of vital organs and so that person must remain trapped in a meat prison. The end is always the same, it just takes longer. It is more horrific than anything you can imagine.
All because western cultures cannot face death collectively and often exist in a state of denial about it. Further more often loved ones feel if they are the ones to say stop they're 'killing' their loved ones. Others get concerned about the religious implications, as if some great diety would cast judgment on them for not keeping their family member in a state of purgatory for as long as possible.
So to answer your question, after years of taking part in that? Yes. I support euthanasia. I think our threshold for its use should be very low. I see death as an inevitable part of life and one of my greatest joys is being able to help someone pass without pain and in peace with their dignity.
Anyone who says otherwise can come hang out in the icu for a few weeks. They can change the dressings, they can look these people in the eye and tell them this must continue, that some arbitrary bullshit rationale is good enough to keep this going.
Providing futile care to prolong the suffering of a patient is an ICU nurse’s nightmare.
Less than a week ago I completed my practice round in the ICU, the last floor you practice in nursing school. In these 3 and a half years of school I did 2850 hours of practice, including the paediatric oncology floor. What I’ve seen in the ICU made me suffer more than anything. I’m currently writing my dissertation on euthanasia and DNR instructions.
> If family members want their loved ones to keep going because they cannot accept their impending death our hands are almost always tied.
This is common and makes me go red with rage. Pure selfishness causing unimaginable pain.
My mother watched her grandmother deteriorate from ALS. She tried to kill her self 5 times. All I remember of my great-grandmother was a woman who couldn’t leave her bed, and barely speak. Medically assisted death would have meant she didn’t have to suffer. So, it has my full support.
I was 8 when my grandfather died from ALS. We went to visit him on what ended up being the last night he was alive, and what I remember is barely being able to recognize him under all the machines he was hooked up to. If I were to get a disease that slowly paralyzes me over 5 long years, I’d want to go out peacefully before I suffered that long too.
My mother had a series of strokes that left her almost totally paralyzed other than her left hand. She had brain damage that meant she couldn't tell reality from dreams, so a nightmare would become real to her, leaving her terrorized for days. She was also blind and nearly totally deaf. She suffered like that for years, getting great care, being fed boiled dog food, crying and begging for it to end, until finally gangrene killed her, rotting her alive from the feet upwards.
It's given me a terror of getting old and helpless. Please smother me with a pillow before I end up like that!
If she had been a dog or a cat, we would have gone to prison for not putting her to sleep, but because she's human, she had to suffer, horribly, until they couldn't keep her alive any longer.
EDIT for hyperbole: "Boiled dog food" was what it smelled like and what we called it, but it was technically human food. It was this foul smelling mush that was suitable for people who can't chew or swallow properly. We should sneak her 'real' food though, as she would refuse the mush. Quite rightfully, too, it was disgusting. The oldies in the nursing home also had to drink 'heavy water', which was weird but not so unpleasant.
Full support. People shouldn't be forced to spend their last days in extreme pain. They should be able to choose to die with dignity.
I just watched my bedridden Grandad finally die after 3+ years of dementia, cancer, and UTIs. I fully support medically assisted death/dying with dignity. He and others like him don't deserve that horrific painful end.
So sorry your family had to go through that. He isnt suffering anymore.
wish your family well
My father's last words were "Kill me Now!" While struggling with the SF VA hospice nurses after he ripped his own respirator in half. I made the nurses leave and turned everything off and held his hand until he was gone. Man went out on own terms. His O2 saturation was stripping him of his intellect and wanted it to end, only spent 22 hours in hospice.
I am 100% for assisted death after that ordeal. He could've gone peacefully on a beach.
Can relate. Watched my mother die slowly as cancer ate through her body. In the end, she couldn’t do anything except stare at whoever was with her - she couldn’t even cry anymore. It was bloody traumatising as a kid. Although I don’t know if she would’ve taken the option to leave us earlier than she did, I think it should be everyone’s right to chose.
I was pretty much in the middle until i witnessed my dad pass, now I feel that at a certain point it’s very much a mercy that any human deserves. Wait till someone you love is suffering without hope and you will likely reconsider your stance on this issue.
I'm sorry for your loss. In an effort to understand the other side, do you recall what your rationale was for maybe not being in favor of assisted suicide for the terminally ill, before this?
You didn't ask me, but I could only think of religious reasons. I'm pro choice all the way, we should be able to decide on our body, even in this instance. But my religious parents would disagree because "The body is sacred and if God wants you to suffer, it's to wash your sins", or "you can't decide, it's God who decides when you go" or things like that.
100% for it. It's nothing but cruel to deny someone a peaceful death especially when the alternative is a stationary life connected tubes where you can't function without constant help for things. It should be their choice.
better than blowing your brains out
For everyone involved.
Had a co-worker lose his dad to his own pistol and finding him was traumatizing to his mom and family
There was a story of a guy in a wheelchair, I think he had lost most of his basic functions and he decided to starve himself to death because he wanted to die that badly.
If that's not enough for people to be persuaded then I don't know what is.
I don't see the problem, my body my choice is a phrase that applies to this too.
My uncle used this service when he was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer. He was always healthy, very sporty-guy. And in the end within 1 year after the discovery he looked like a different person. The meds hit hard and didn‘t really help sadly. He was a very happy and ALWAYS optimistic person. But he couldn‘t take it anymore since it didn‘t look well and he suffered as well as his children and wife. So he decided to depart from this world via this service. It was his decision, his family supported him, we supported him. I am very happy he was able to choose to do this - everyone should be able to do this.
Here in Switzerland it‘s luckily pretty accepted if you are terminally ill or similar.
I'm fine with it. I think everyone should be able to die with dignity.
If there is no escape from extraordinary pain but assisted death, it should be a crime to keep someone suffering.
Euthanasia should be legalized in all countries.
For it. I have a progressive spinal cord condition that is as painful as hell but will never kill me. It would be much more humane to have an option to die without suffering for years and years.
I've always been for people to be free to make their own informed choices about how they want to live (or not live in this case). But it's not as simple as what one person says they want.
We have to be really sure that the person deciding is not being coerced, that they are of sound mind, and that it is a choice that is persistent (i.e. they will not change their minds later on). There's also the point of whether we should put the burden on the physicians or medical staff to go against what they may have swore an oath to, which is to do no harm. I personally agree with the notion that helping people legitimately seeking medically assisted death is doing the least harm but I can see why some people might not agree. And it's easy to say from the outside what one should do but I'm sure if you're a medical professional lawfully bound to help people die against your own beliefs it can take a toll on your mental health.
Luckily I think most places that allow it legally have pretty good structures in place to facilitate these issues. But no system is perfect and some people just might not want the risk of one person dying against their will when people think that it might be their decision, even if it means thousands others can die on their on terms.
I was volunteering in a hospice and had my first encounter with a patient seeking medical assistance in dying a few years ago. She was one of the patients I connected the most with. We shared a lot of conversations about her life, her love for old movies, and ultimately why she decided to pursue a death on her terms. She was going to keep it from her children, but I was happy to hear that in the end her children were with her on the day of and I will always remember her and how at peace she was when a date was set.
Thank you for adding some nuance to this debate.